“But what if they’ve only had a couple of drinks?”
“How am I supposed to tell if my partner is too drunk to give consent?”
“What if it’s my long-term partner, who loves and trusts me?”
“What if we make an agreement before drinking about having sex later?”
“If two straight people have sex and they’re both drunk, why is it always the man who gets in trouble?”
Although there are some clear-cut guidelines for knowing how much alcohol is too much—if someone is passed out or incoherent, for example—alcohol’s effects vary from person to person and across situations. For this reason, it is difficult to give advice for figuring out how many drinks is too many. So I don’t have clear answers for many of the questions people have asked me about alcohol and consent. This post gives excellent advice, in my opinion, on how to navigate consent in situations where one or both partners have been drinking.
Although I don't have concrete answers to questions about how much alcohol before sex is too much, there is an important question that nobody has ever asked me, but that I think is just as important as the questions raised above. In addition to asking how much alcohol before sex is too much, we need to ask why it’s so important to some people that they/their partner can drink before sex? It’s not simply a coincidence that people have sex after drinking. People drink alcohol before sex for lots of different reasons, and some of those reasons can be signs that a sexual encounter will be at best unfulfilling and at worst harmful to oneself or one’s partner.